The following is a press release written by the National Genealogical Society:
RICHMOND, VA, 1 JUNE 2023—The National Genealogical Society (NGS) began its Family History Conference in Richmond, Virginia, on 31 May 2023 at the Greater Richmond Convention Center. Following the 1 June Opening Session’s keynote address, entitled “Diverse from the Beginning” by Christy S. Coleman, executive director, Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation, NGS Awards Chair Judy Nimer Muhn presented awards to honor the conference’s local volunteer leadership. Also presented were awards to honor the winners of the President’s Citation, Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern Lifetime Achievement Award, Lou D. Szucs Distinguished Service Award, Shirley Langdon Wilcox Award for Exemplary Volunteerism, Award of Merit, and Genealogy Tourism Award.
The President’s Citation is given in recognition of outstanding, continuing, or unusual contributions to genealogy or to NGS. Janet A. Alpert, FNGS, was awarded the 2023 President’s Citation, honoring her many years of service to NGS. She served on the NGS Board from 2004–2012 as secretary (2004–2006) and president (2006–2010). In 2014, she was named a Fellow of NGS. She has served in a leadership role for every conference since 2009 and has been Conference Committee chair for the last five years. She returned to the board for a second term from 2019–2022. The President’s Citation also recognized Alpert for her ten years of service for the Records Access and Preservation Coalition (RPAC), which she has chaired since 2013.
Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern Lifetime Achievement Award
The Rabbi Malcolm H. Stern Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes an individual whose positive influence and leadership have fostered unity and helped make family history a vital force in the community. This year’s award recipient is Angela Walton-Raji. Walton-Raji is a founding member of MAAGI, the Midwest African-American Genealogy Institute, and is known nationally for her genealogical and historical research and work with Oklahoma Native American records. She is a leader in the genealogy arena who encourages family history research regarding the freedmen of the five civilized tribes and much more.
Lou D. Szucs Distinguished Service Award
The Lou D. Szucs Distinguished Service Award recognizes exemplary contributions to the mission of NGS. This year Diane MacLean Boumenot received the award for her outstanding service to NGS. Boumenot worked for more than two years to coordinate the work of a team that reviewed content for the new NGS Advanced Skills in Genealogy course in support of the NGS Education Director Angela McGhie, CG.
Shirley Langdon Wilcox Award for Exemplary Volunteerism
The Shirley Langdon Wilcox Award for Exemplary Volunteerism recognizes a volunteer whose generosity of spirit and time has greatly benefited NGS and the genealogical community in general. This year the Society is honoring two awardees.
Deborah Lebo Hoskins, CPA, was elected treasurer to the NGS board of directors in May 2018 and began her first two-year term on 1 October 2018. She served a second term as treasurer from 1 October 2020–30 September 2022. Hoskins significantly provided hours of support and expertise when NGS and the Federation of Genealogical Societies merged.
Darcie Hind Posz, CG, served as an awards committee judge for seven years, during which time she devoted many hours reviewing award nominations. She also served NGS as editor of NGS Magazine (January 2015–September 2016), and as a member of the Nominating Committee for positions on the NGS Board in 2020.
Award of Merit
The Award of Merit is presented to an individual or non-profit genealogical or historical organization to recognize exceptional contributions to the field of genealogy over a period of five or more years. Their work must have significantly aided research or increased interest in genealogy. This year the NGS board of directors presented the award to the following distinguished leaders in our sector:
Jill Morelli, CG. Morelli has been a speaker, society leader, and networker for years in the genealogy community. She was recognized for the significant time, energy, and expertise she dedicated to the establishment and support of the Certification Discussion Group. The Group helps genealogists understand and progress through the Board for Certification of Genealogists' certification process to become Certified Genealogists.
Dr. Shelley Viola Murphy. For the past ten years, Murphy has dedicated her life to educating others about African American research and genealogy in general. She has served as president, course coordinator, and instructor at MAAGI, as coordinator of genealogy education for the Center of Family History at the new International African American Museum, and more.
David M. McCorkle. McCorkle was nominated for this award by a group of genealogists for his work in digitizing and providing easy and free access to records of critical importance to North Carolina researchers. Those efforts included the creation of a free website, North Carolina Land Grants Images and Data, to make North Carolina's land entry and grant records accessible and the creation of a nonprofit for the North Carolina Historical Records Online.
Patricia M. Gailes. Gailes was recognized for her many roles in Southeastern Massachusetts, including as the former vice president of Bristol Chapter, Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, Inc. (MSOG, INC.), for the creation of a genealogy research room at the local library, and for obtaining grant funding through the Massachusetts Cultural Council to cover speaker fees for the Chapter. Patricia has served as vice president of Dighton Historical Society, Inc., and chairman of the Dighton Historical Commission for the town.
Midwest African American Genealogy Institute (MAAGI). The Institute has grown over the last ten years and has taken its place as a trusted educational and training institute for the beginner, the intermediate researcher, and the professional. Today MAAGI welcomes a record number of participants from multiple states.
Genealogy Tourism Award
The Genealogy Tourism Award is awarded to the following leaders in the promotion of local genealogy research:
Miriam Weiner. Weiner was nominated for this award because of her significant and long-term focus on the Jewish records and archives of Eastern Europe, notably Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, and more. Building relationships with archivists and government officials, Weiner has opened doors for researchers from across the world. She has augmented this work by leading tour groups at these repositories. Weiner’s development of relationships fostered good will and key records access and preservation in areas and countries with frequent conflicts and lack of resources and staffing that would have resulted in record loss.
Homestead National Historical Park. Homestead National Historical Park actively works to educate and share the enormous impact of the Homestead Act of 1862. In 2019, it received digital assets from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln-Center of Great Plains Study about six black homesteading communities. The park’s job is to share those stories on their website as the Black Homesteaders Project. This Project grew to an innovative collaborative effort between the Homestead National Historic Park and descendants of homesteaders, researchers, genealogists, and volunteers.
The Library of Virginia (LVA). LVA is the premier destination for Virginia family history researchers through its in-person and online programs. It also utilizes social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and the Virginia state tourism site to reach thousands of people to spread the word about the exciting historic sites and repositories found throughout Virginia.
New York Genealogical & Biographical Society (NYG&B). For more than a decade, the NYG&B has organized research trips every year to New York City and Albany, New York. The research trips to New York City and Albany offer guided tours and lectures by the NYG&B and consulting NYC experts for researchers seeking to learn about the most important collections in local libraries and archives.
The NGS 2023 Family History Conference continues through Saturday, 3 June.